Stuart Rosenberg, Director Of 'Cool Hand Luke' & 'Amityville Horror,' Dies At 79

Monday, March 19th 2007, 9:00 am
By: News On 6

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ Stuart Rosenberg, a prolific director of series television and theatrical films who partnered with Paul Newman on the widely popular prison drama ``Cool Hand Luke'' and several other movies, has died at 79.

Rosenberg, who also directed ``The Amityville Horror,'' died of a heart attack Thursday at his home in Beverly Hills, according to his son, Benjamin.

Rosenberg's first film was ``Cool Hand Luke,'' the 1967 drama starring Newman as an inmate on a chain gang who becomes an unlikely hero.

``He was as good as anybody I ever worked with,'' Newman said in a statement.

``Cool Hand Luke'' was nominated for four Academy Awards, with George Kennedy taking home a statute for best supporting actor. The film also spawned the famous line delivered by Strother Martin as a guard captain: ``What we've got here is failure to communicate.''

Rosenberg was nominated for a Directors' Guild Award for the film, but lost to Mike Nichols, who made ``The Graduate'' the same year.

After ``Cool Hand Luke,'' Rosenberg directed Jack Lemmon and French actress Catherine Deneuve in ``The April Fools.'' He worked with Newman again on ``WUSA,'' ``Pocket Money,'' and ``The Drowning Pool.''

Rosenberg also directed Robert Redford in the 1980 prison film ``Brubaker'' and Mickey Rourke in 1984's ``The Pope of Greenwich Village.'' ``Amityville Horror'' in 1979 was probably his most financially successful film; it has inspired seven sequels to date.

His last film was ``My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys'' in 1991.

Rosenberg had started out by directing episodes of television series in the 1950s, starting with ``Decoy,'' which starred Beverly Garland as a New York City policewoman.

He collected more than 300 TV directing credits for such dramatic series' as ``The Untouchables,'' ``Alfred Hitchcock Presents'' and ``The Twilight Zone,'' and won an Emmy Award in 1963 for an episode of ``The Defenders.''

Rosenberg is survived by his wife, Margot, and son Benjamin, an assistant editor who worked with his father on many of his later films.